This past Saturday Karen and I took advantage of the Fall-like weather to hike Glacier Point in Yosemite. We drove in to find that the reports of “no snow” were absolutely accurate. Generally, Glacier Point road is closed past Badger Pass Ski Resort starting sometime in late November. This year, however, the road is open and very clear of any trace of snow. And, it’s mid-January.
So, we donned some warm jackets (because although there was no snow to speak of, the temperatures were between 20 and 40 degrees) and headed off to The Fissures, Taft Point, and Sentinel Dome. The trail was empty. This gave us a great chance to enjoy a peaceful walk through the woods and some stunning views of Yosemite Valley. The waterfalls were in winter hibernation but the granite faces of Half Dome, El Capitan, Clouds Rest and all of the high-country made for great photos.
We encountered only a slight amount of snow. It was on a north-facing slope that tended to see sun only between the hours of 1 and 2 pm. The hiking path was well worn and dry, indicating that this was old snow and barely hanging on from the storms back in November.
Once we arrived at the Fissures and Taft Point, we encountered our first fellow hikers. They had walked the 0.5 miles in from the Taft Point trailhead. The cliffs were as dizzying and spellbinding as ever and we had a great time scampering among the rocks and having a quick lunch before heading to Sentinel Dome.
Upon arriving at the top of the dome, we found ourselves amongst our 30 closest friends. It seems that the top of the dome is a particularly popular place to watch the sunset. So, we staked out a piece of rock, took some photos, talked with some other tourists and enjoyed a very colorful mountain sunset.
The last few miles back to the car were much colder, as the temperature dropped substantially after the sun was down. But we were prepared with additional layers and gloves in addition to a new pocket-lantern courtesy of “Santa.” By finding a nicely curved stick, we were able to turn our pocket lantern into a convenient way of lighting our path.
To wrap-up, the hike was a great way to spend a Saturday.
P.S. – We took a little detour on the way home to stop at P.J.’s Pizzaria in Groveland. We were really looking forward to a BBQ chicken pizza. However, it turns out that they didn’t have pizza to serve. They also were out of breadsticks… and the chicken curry special. So, we had chicken fingers. Guess if we want pizza, P.J.’s is the wrong place to go.